10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 18, 2008 9:48 PM by Christopher Perra
John Lucente Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
PC's had disk defragmenter. Does Mac have anything similar to "clean up" the disks on the hard drive?

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5), 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM / 80 GB Hard Drive
  • dwb Level 7 Level 7 (20,660 points)
    The official answer from Apple is that due to a number of factors, disk fragmentation isn't the issue that it has traditionally been. That's not to say that your computer can't suffer from fragmentation slow down - particularly if you repeated add and delete files from your computer as a professional photographer or videographer might do or if your drive is becoming full. iDefrag has been the traditional goto utility but I don't know if it has been updated for Leopard.
  • Christopher Perra Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hello John:
    There are a couple of utilities that are produced by third parties for the Mac that do this. One is [Drive Genius 2|http://www.prosofteng.com/products/drive_genius.php] by Prosoft Engineering, the other is [DiskWarrior|http://www.alsoft.com] by Alsoft.

    Good Luck!
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (44,470 points)
    Hi Christopher Perra;

    You claimed that DiskWarrior is capable of defragmenting disk when in fact it is not. What DW does instead is to optimize the directories on the disk which it something totally different then defragmentation.

    Allan
    tiger
  • Monty1945 Level 3 Level 3 (690 points)
    Greetings,

    Macs don't have the fragmentation issues that WinBlows does, never has, and the OS X system optimizes itself dynamically, more or less.

    If you want to, you can purchase iDefrag or Techtool Pro, and use their optimizing functions to defrag the drive, but I doubt that you will see any difference afterwards. I own both programs, and have tried the optimization part of Techtool, and used iDefrag, but have never seen much, if any, of a difference.

    You would have to really work at fragmenting a drive, even if you could, before a defrag/optimization program would be of any real benefit to you.

    Good Luck - Cheers,
    M.
    ***********
  • V.K. Level 9 Level 9 (56,130 points)
    Monty1945 wrote:
    Greetings,

    Macs don't have the fragmentation issues


    not quite true. It's true that the OS does a fair amount of disk optimization, however, disk fragmentation does happen and quite substantially.
    Check out this [link|http://www.macfixitforums.com/printthread.php?Board=Forum38&main=570817&t ype=post].

    This [thread|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6978477&#6978477] provides some interesting data too but you'll have to ignore the heated rethoric.

    However, disk fragmentation mostly doesn't affect performance unless the hard drive fills up.
    I've seen lots of posts by people having huge problems because of this very thing.

    It may also become an issue when trying to partition a drive as the system needs a large contiguous chunk of free space for that.
  • Monty1945 Level 3 Level 3 (690 points)
    Greetings,

    Yes, I've seen it (the link) and others like it. I've yet to see a need for it, personally, but a disk could get badly fragmented in time and with tons and tons of installs, uninstalls, adds and deletes, that would benefit from defragmentation, yes, it is possible.

    I guess what I really mean to say, is it's not as critical or common as it is with Windows. If a person has the money and wants a defrag program - heck fire! go for it.

    Cheers,
    M.
    ************
  • Chester Harlan Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)
    I like iDefrag, I think it's a great little piece of software and solved me some problems I had when creating a partition with BootCamp.
    Cheers
  • Jeffery Nunes Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    these articles are interesting about the fragmentation problem. i had some years ago that osx has software the limits fragmentation. however, in my experience, fragmentation still happens. take my powermac, please (an old joke)... my powermac is a bit over 2 years old. i have never filled the disk more than about 1/2 way. in recent months, the fragmentation is so bad that the disk makes popcorn even when booting... i am now trying to decide about how best to defrag... either run techtoolpro or drive genius or just reformat and reinstall...

    on my powerbook at home, my hard drive died last fall. after i had a new hard disk installed, partitioned and installed the os, and restored all the files, my powerbook G4 is running circles around my dual powermac G5... personally i find partitioning the hard drive to be helpful at reducing the fragmentation. i believe it is because the swap, which stays on the root volume with the operating system dynamically grows a lot. and since it is always change size, it affects where the data files get written. with the virtual memory file on the partition with the OS files, which are changing that much, then the data files on the other partition don't also get scrambled so much... at least that is my current working theory... i used to do sysadmin work on unix systems about 15 years ago. we always formatted the disks in at least 3 partition, 1- for OS files, 2- data files, 3- scratch space for all the temp files that change dynamically... with that scheme, our suns would run for years and have very little performance slowdowns...

    when i got my powermac and had heard that fragmentation was addressed in osx, i thought i'd try it with a single partition. now i regret it... it is more work to partition and it can be a lot of work if one has to change the partition (though i've read that 10.5 doesn't make one reformat, which i don't understand how that works...), but i've found that it makes less maintenance...

    one of the advantages of a reformat and new install is that it clears out all the miscellaneous files that get installed with programs over the years. but it is a lot of work to reinstall all the applications... so the reformat option has it's pluses and minuses... the downside to the utility software is that it can take forever and a day, especially if the fragmentation is bad... last night i stuck around work til about 9pm waiting for techtoolpro to finish it's "diagnostic check"... it was running for about 4 hours before i gave up and came home...

    i hadn't heard about iDefrag... but i already have techtoolpro and drive genius, though i haven't used either much before... i wonder if one is better than the other...
  • wmowbray Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)
    John: In the header you mention "disk cleanup" and in the body you mention "disk defragmenter." You do realize these are two totally different utilities on the PC. One optimzes the drive and one does a very basic cleaning of some cache files, cookies etc.
    To specifically answer your question as far as does the Mac have these utilities with the installed OS -- NO.
  • Christopher Perra Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Allan:
    I was not implying that DW had the capability of DE-FRAGMENTING a Mac Hard Disk, I simply implied that it would assist in cleaning up the DISK, I am full aware of what it does, I am sorry that you did not understand my post as you should have. Next time I will be more clear.

    Best,

    Chris

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